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Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

Review

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

written by Chris Barton with illustrations by Don Tate
Lonnie Johnson grew up in Mobile, Alabama with his parents and five siblings. As a kid, he enjoyed taking things apart to figure out how they worked. He collected odds and ends and made new things out of them. One of the things he liked to make most was rockets --- but when he tried making rocket fuel, it caught on fire in his mom's kitchen. Instead of scolding him, she simply told him to work on his idea outside and not in the house.
 
Because he loved taking things apart and building things from scratch, Lonnie's big dream was to be an engineer, but when he took a test, the results showed he would not make a very good one. Boy, were those results wrong! Lonnie later went on to work for NASA in its Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he designed a power pack for the Galileo, an unarmed space shuttle that studied Jupiter.
"Barton's writing is lively and inviting, making you want to turn the page to see what happens next."
Despite all of his other accomplishments, Lonnie is best known for the invention of the Super Soaker, an invention that came about --- like many new ideas --- by mistake. Author Chris Barton tells the story of the Super Soaker, and its inventor, Lonnie Johnson, in this wonderful picture book.
 
 
Barton does a great job of telling Lonnie's life story shortly and succinctly, starting with his childhood and ending with present-day as Lonnie is still alive and inventing things. Barton's writing is lively and inviting, making you want to turn the page to see what happens next.
 
As this is a picture book, the story is short and the pages are filled with pictures. The illustrations by Don Tate are delightful. They are colorful and expressive and add greatly to the text.
 
Like many others, I was familiar with the Super Soaker water gun, but I did not know who had invented it. Now, I do!

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on May 17, 2016

Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
written by Chris Barton with illustrations by Don Tate